BJJEE.com’s editor Gile Huni shows how to prepare Tereré the secret drink from the Amazon that is great for Jiu-Jitsu. Gile drinks this to stay alert, help with weight loss (it’s a natural fat burner), and as a pre workout for BJJ.
First invented by the Guaraní natives who lived in Paraguay and western Brazil (Mato Grosso do Sul where Cyborg is from) territory that used to belong to Paraguay before the war of the Triple Alliance, Tereré was spread by the dwellers of that region, and for centuries was a social beverage. People usually prepare one jar of natural water and a “guampa” (Spanish) / “cuia” (Portuguese) with a “bombilla” (Spanish) / “bomba” (Portuguese) which is shared among the group of people. Since Paraguay and Mato Grosso do Sul have a very hot climate, this drink is excellent to refresh the body and can be considered a very low-calorie, non-alcoholic beverage. Additionally, it is an important ritual signifying trust and communion.
Gile Huni talks about Tereré:
Having to work two jobs and sleeping as little as 5 hours/ day, I started to rely on coffee to lift me up during the day. One of my Brazilian students at the academy here in Serbia, talked to me about Yerba Mate, a popular tea back in South America that is very rich in caffeine but doesn’t have the crash effects of coffee. The name sounded funny as ‘Yerba Mate’ sounds similar to a very common swear word in Serbian : ‘Jebem (Yebem) ti mater’ (google it) :). After having watched a video of Roberto Cyborg talking so highly of the benefits of Yerba Mate, I researched further and decided to try it out.
Yerba mate tea is a South American beverage made by steeping the ground leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant. Yerba mate is a central nervous system stimulant containing caffeine, but it also contains a number of other nutrients, including antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Yerba mate is touted as being a safe and effective nervous system stimulant with few side effects and many health benefits.
ADCC champion Roberto Cyborg drinks Yerba Mate as ‘Tereré’ (of Guaraní origin), an infusion of yerba mate (botanical name Ilex paraguariensis), similar to mate but prepared with cold water and ice rather than with hot, and in a slightly larger vessel. It is originally from Paraguay and is found also in northeastern Argentina and southern and western Brazil. The Guaraní people call this infusion ka’ay where ka’a means herb and y means water.
A lot of people drink tereré with cold water, ice and herbs, that can be medicinals or refreshing, but other people just drink with cold water and ice. It is common in northeastern Argentina and southern and western of Brazil prepard with citrus fruit juices like lime, orange and pineapple, although this practice varies depending on the region. While mixing fruit juices with Tereré is commonly called “tereré ruso” (Russian tereré) because this practice is more common with Slavic immigrants in the northeast of Argentina.
Guampas/Cuias are like a glass that can be made from animal horns, usually made from cattle horns, but some people made guampas from metal, wood and silver. The new guampa/cuia or the one not used for some time needs to be watered before use, because the lower part of the cuia is usually capped with a round piece of wood. By filling the guampa/cuia with water the wood expands, covering all leaks in the guampa/cuia. Guam’s and Cuias are also made from wood and covered in leather or steel.
Bombilla or Bomba is a metal straw with a filter at the end. The Yerba Mate is placed at the bottom of the guampa, and as water is added the bombilla drinks from the guampa the clear green liquid.
My experience: I bought a bomba metal straw online and started drinking away. At the moment I drink up to 2 liters of Terere every day. I haven’t had a coffee in 1 month and don’t need to as it always keeps me alert and with a slight euphoric effect. It has really helped weight loss as well (together with a healthier diet). I enjoy a Terere as a pre-workout. In the past I’ve lifted weights and even trained in Jiu-Jitsu drinking some commercial pre workouts and caffeine pills and felt my heart beat much faster and also a big crash afterwards. Terere is very subtle and keeps you alert for hours.
Personally what I do, is the morning I put about 30 grams of green yerba mate leaves in a metal filter and dip in hot water (never boiling) and let it infuse for 8 minutes. That way I am able to release all the essence of the leaves. I then cut up and juice one lime and pour it in a large pitcher of cold water. I then pour the mate leaves that were in the filter in a large 500ml glass and add more dry leaves to make the glass 1/2 full of leaves. I pour the warm water (now brown colour) which is infused with the mate in the cold pitcher of water and pour the mix in the glass. I use my bomba straw and sip away!
Here are some of the benefits of drinking yerba mate (source: Fitday.com)
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Yerba mate tea is very high in antioxidants; it’s got about 90% more antioxidants than green tea. Yerba mate has significant immune boosting properties. It can slow the signs of aging, detoxify the blood and prevent many types of cancer. Yerba mate also helps reduce stress and insomnia.
2. Enhances Your Ability to Focus
Proponents of yerba mate tea say that the minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, animo acids and polphenols found in this beverage have a balancing effect on the caffeine it contains. Users report increased mental energy, clarity and focus, but they also say that yerba mate doesn’t cause any of the uncomfortable side effects associated with drinking caffeinated beverages, such as headaches, stomachaches and jitters.
3. Enhances Physical Endurance
The chemical compounds and nutrients in yerba mate tea affect your metabolism to make your body use carbohydrates more efficiently. This means you’ll get more energy from the food you eat. You’ll also burn more of the calories your body has stored in fat cells as fuel when you drink yerba mate tea regularly. Regular yerba mate consumption also helps keep lactic acid from building up in your muscles so you can decrease post workout soreness and cut your recovery time.
4. Aids Digestion
The native peoples of South America have long used yerba mate tea as a traditional herbal remedy against digestive ailments. Yerba mate aids digestion by stimulating increased production of bile and other gastric acids. Yerba mate helps keep your colon clean for effective and efficient waste elimination, and helps reduce the stomach bacteria that can contribute to bad breath.
5. Helps You Control Your Weight
Native South American peoples have traditionally used yerba mate as part of a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise. Yerba mate has stimulant qualities to help you feel full sooner after you begin eating, and it slows your digestion so that your stomach stays full longer. Combining yerba mate with a healthy diet and regular exercise can help boost your metabolism to burn more calories, and it can help you eat less by curbing your appetite slightly.
6. Supports Cardiovascular Health
The antioxidants and amino acids present in yerba mate help fat and cholesterol move through your bloodstream so that they don’t accumulate on artery walls. Yerba mate also helps prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and prevents blood clots that may cause heart attack or stroke.
Roberto Cyborg and Abraham Marte talking about their love for Terere: